~ History Of Cornerstone ~



Cornerstone Baptist Church has magnificent and impressive facilities.  Our sanctuary is famous for its' warm rich and elegant structural design.  Kindly visit the virtual tour before leaving the Cornerstone web site, and view the newly renovated facilities.  Our congregation has grown from a few people in 1917 to in excess of 1500 members today.

Cornerstone is more than the impressive facilities.  The church is its' people - from our precious infants to our cherished seniors filled with the love of God and for each other. An impressive Pastor leads us, along with very capable assistants and associates, a devoted staff and outstanding Boards of Trustees, Deacons and Deaconess

The church has some sixty-five Boards, clubs and organizations that offer every member a mini-home where they can expand their talents and indulge their special interests

 The church has a large and active Sunday school program, including  a month long Vacation Bible School during the summer, which is free to the public. 

An outstanding Music Ministry supports five choirs for every age and musical ability - and so much more....visit our online calendar for scheduled services, musical events and programs.  Our church home is a place in which the motto "Welcome and Worship Are Warm" has real meaning.  The congregation respects its seniors, nurtures its young, values every member and welcomes all who enter.  Our corner at Dr. Sandy F. Ray Blvd and Madison Street is a place of love, worship and caring.  We invite you to read on, visit our history, do the virtual tour, and check out the Cornerstone clubs and auxiliaries here on our Web Site.  We invite you to come for a visit to share the love.


Historical Highlights




In the year 1917, in the borough of Brooklyn, New York, as bombs and bullets were being hurled across the continent of Europe, our Heavenly Father was planting seeds of courage in the hearts and minds of some Christian soldiers that were determined to live for Christ.

Led by the Holy Spirit, a small group went from home to home and held their first meeting at 933 DeKalb Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, in the home of Mrs. M. Freeman. This group continued to worship together and on September 10,1917, the Cornerstone Baptist Church was organized and dedicated to the Service of God. The Reverend William H. Rodman was the founder and first Pastor. On May 3, 1920, a meeting was held to organize this body into a permanent church.

The six Baptist Churches which formed the Recognition Council, officially recognized Cornerstone Baptist Church on June 9, 1920, by holding a public service. The financial offering for this service was five dollars.




The Reverend Rodman was called from labor to reward in February, 1921. Later that same year Reverend A. R. Artis was called to pastor Cornerstone. He served until May, 1922. The Reverend J. J. Jenkins became pastor later in 1922 and served until 1925. He was followed by the Reverend J. R. Williams, who passed away on June 16,1929. The Reverend Thomas Willis Fentress was then called to pastor. Under his pastorate the church moved to 688 DeKalb Avenue, and in 1932 Cornerstone moved to its first church edifice at Gates Avenue and Irving Place. The word spread of a place where "Welcome and Worship Are Warm" and grew to be one of Brooklyn's largest congregations.

During the twelve years of Reverend Fentress' ministry, many strong soldiers began to emerge. . . Deacon Cyril A. Davis, Deacon Allen Jordan who served as both deacon and trustee, Deacons William Holley, Conrade Scott, Mrs. Carrie E. Moore, Mrs. Mary N. Barnett and others.

In 1941, the Reverend Fentress was called to rest from his labor. We thank God for his life and service.




On April 1, 1944, the Reverend Dr. Sandy Frederick Ray who had pastored three churches and was pastor of the Shiloh Baptist Church in Columbus, Ohio, was called to Cornerstone. The Cornerstone congregation had grown so large the church edifice at Gates Avenue and Irving Place could no longer accommodate us.

On December 28, 1944, a contract was signed for the Lewis Avenue Congregational Church Parish which would accommodate our parishioners. The purchase price was $29,000.00 and renovation cost was $28,000.00. On June 10, 1945, the march from the old church to the new took place under "SHOWER OF BLESSINGS." Dr. Milton K. Curry, Sr. preached the first sermon in the new edifice.

During the thirty-five year ministry of Dr. Ray new buildings were purchased and erected to house our church office and the pastor's study. The church parsonage at 1281 President Street was purchased in 1956. The Cornerstone Educational Center, 289 Lewis Avenue (now Dr. Sandy F. Ray Boulevard) was completed, dedicated and opened to the public May 29, 1966. The Reverend Dr. Sandy Frederick Ray fell asleep on April 11, 1979.




During the period from May, 1979 to November, 1981, the Reverend Henry G. Scott, Assistant to Dr. Ray, served with distinction as Minister-In-Charge.

On November 14, 1981, the Cornerstone Baptist Church Family held an election and unanimously elected the Reverend Dr. Harry Starks Wright, a Pastor, Dean and College President, to the Pastorate of Cornerstone Baptist Church. He is our seventh pastor.




In March, 1982, Dr. Wright officially began his ministry at Cornerstone. God has given him the message of love, not only to speak it, but to live it. Following a Pre-Installation Luncheon at the Waldorf Astoria on July 24, 1982, Dr. Wright was installed as Pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church by the Reverend Dr. Gardner C. Taylor, Senior Pastor, Concord Baptist Church of Christ, on Sunday, July 25, 1982.

There is no doubt in our minds, Dr. Wright was sent by God to take hold of the spiritual baton passed on to him to continue this Gospel Journey of Joy. As we journey through this 21st century, we look back in admiration and appreciation to the Cornerstone pioneers who paved the way for us to better serve the present age and to be "A Witness For Christ."




On August 3, 2003, our beloved Pastor Harry S. Wright retired.  His successor, The Revered Lawrence Aker took the reins and presently serves as Pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church.